If you’re reading this blog, you already know that yesterday, under the process within the House Republican Caucus that challengers Ken Paxton and Warren Chisum pushed hard for, House Speaker Joe Straus kicked their butts – they stopped counting after Straus reached 70 votes.
Following the vote, Chisum had sense enough to withdraw, but according to reports, Paxton intends to take it to a floor vote.
Are you kidding me?
Remember back in the day, when it was considered important for a presiding officer to have as his first duty protecting the legislative body he led?
Remember when the backroom debates regarding a presiding officer’s job performance focused not on whether he had protected the body, but how effectively he had done so?
For those who still think that trait is…oh, I dunno…constructive…one need look no farther than the fact that Paxton still intends to place his name in nomination and take this Speakership to a floor vote. The outcome a forgone conclusion, the vote is specifically designed for no other purpose other than to hurt incumbents. In so doing, Paxton is vividly proving the point of those who declined to support him.
That Paxton is specifically declining to protect the members of his House clearly shows that Paxton would have made a terrible presiding officer.
Way beyond the considerations of Republicans versus Democrats, progressives versus conservatives, rural versus urban, or shirts versus skins, after the Comptroller’s revenue estimate yesterday it is obvious that this legislative session will be grim, at best. The decisions made in the building will determine, literally, which Texans die. The people in charge will decide which Texans remain impoverished, or uneducated, or unhealthy. These guys get to figure out on which measures Texas becomes, or stays, last in the nation for the good stuff, and first in the nation for the bad.
This really isn’t a good time for silly reindeer games, and serious legislators of both political parties should take a dim view of Paxton’s stunt.
I doubt I will ultimately like much, if anything, Speaker Straus accomplishes this session. But one way or another, it’s time for the grown-ups to take charge and get on with it.